Opinion

Thoughts For September 19, 2020

Fall has come to Northern New England; a little earlier than usual. I don’t know if it’s the smoke from the wildfires cooling it off sooner, or the effects of the moderate drought we’re in, but the leaves are changing fast. I think by next week we’ll be close to peak color in a lot of areas. It’s been in the 30’s and 40’s overnight quite a but lately and today I don’t think it got out of the 50’s. For me, that’s perfect. I love this weather. It’s the main reason I live here and not in Florida.

I went geocaching today to try to get away from the news. It helped a little, but as soon as I stopped near a pretty lake for lunch, all the thoughts crept back in.

I’m seriously sorry to future generations for what we are leaving you. I’m especially sorry to the young women out there, and young girls such as my granddaughter. This country was once a world leader for a good reason. We had everything going for us, and we threw it away with both hands. Were we perfect? No, far from it. But we seemed to care about each other and people in the world. The high point of western civilization was caring about the African famine and Apartheid in the 1980’s. Now, we don’t even care if people die from a disease if preventing it means we are inconvenienced by having to wear a mask or face covering.

How did we fall so far?

It starts with Reagan. It starts with “are YOU better off than you were four years ago” rather than “is the COUNTRY better off than you were four years ago.” It starts with putting individual needs above all else. We lose the sense of community. Oh, it’s sad that John is dying from cancer that was entirely preventable if he’d had health insurance. I’ll donate to his gofundme and pray for him, but no way I’ll vote so he (and my neighbors like him) can have affordable healthcare. *I* have it – that’s all I care about.

It starts with ignoring AIDS until people we knew started dying from it. It started with PATCO and busting unions, sending workers back to working for less than a livable wage while the rich get richer. It starts with everything having to make a profit – from prisons to education- rather than being a service to the community.

We don’t listen to what people have to say when they tell us their story. People immediately make a judgment and nothing they are told after that will change their minds. This is especially true when it comes to hearing about violence against minorities. It is true when we hear stories of refugees receiving inhumane treatment at our borders and within our borders. “I’ve decided that can’t be true, therefore it isn’t true!” no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary.

It started with people developing their own scorecard for what they think will get them into heaven. Right-wing Christianity seems to say as long as you don’t have an abortion and/or aren’t gay, you’re a shoe-in. Everything else is okay. You can ignore the poor; ignore the homeless veteran (but out that yellow ribbon on your SUV), ignore the under-employed; ignore the mentally ill; ignore the foreigner in your land; as long as your scorecard is clear, nothing else matters.

I don’t believe that, but too many people do.

It’s still hard in some places for women to exert control over their bodies, and I’m not talking about abortion. Try being in your twenties and saying you want your tubes tied. Many doctors refuse to do it. Never mind we’re looking at eroding reproductive rights across the board.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an amazing woman. She deserved to retire long ago, but she didn’t. She fought for as long as she could. This country was not worthy of her. We failed her. We failed her with our “protest votes”. We failed her as we sought a “unicorn” of a political candidate as one of my favorite bloggers calls it. We failed her as we looked for an “everything the way I want it option.”

And our descendants are going to pay the price.

If there’s one thing I’m grateful for, it’s that the internet will preserve the people who fought against every bit of progress this country made over the centuries. There’s a record of who cheered every roll-back in women’s rights, gay rights, worker rights, and human rights. It’ll be there for future generations to read when they are wondering just what happened to us.

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